The sea is spread and cleaved and furled

Ahren Warner

Traven T. Croves (Design) KOPA, Lithuania (Printer)




ISBN: 9781916052093


Publication date: 4 May 2020



The sea is spread and cleaved and furled is an interdisciplinary book and film-work by poet and visual artist Ahren Warner. It is a sequence of lyric poems, a narrative, voice-over and compendium of notes-to-the-self.

Written and filmed across thirteen countries, from the Greek Islands to South East Asia to the Black Sea, the Balkans and the Baltic, it is at once a travelogue and an exploration of stagnating memory, of mental fracturing and its corollary: the exuberant performance of the self.

It is at once a love poem, an intermedia obsession with *cats*, and the personal and philosophical exploration of alienation, moving from Andrew Marvell to Cardi B, from Foucault and Back to the Future to the inane and repetitive close reading of Drake.

The sea is spread and cleaved and furled is a poem and a film about the veneer of dialogue, narcissism and pleasure, about contemporary economies of capital, human movement and desire, and the resistance of the sensible or affective world to language itself.

‘The brilliant writer and artist Ahren Warner makes a welcome return with this verse sequence with photographs… This story of an affair is a messy, disturbing triumph in the traditions of Arthur Rimbaud and John Berryman: how Le bateau ivre or The Dream Songs would read if they’d been written today. It too could be the anthem of a generation.’
Fiona Sampson, The Guardian

‘Ahren Warner has a claim to be the “poet’s poet” of his generation. Even in apparently domestic and personal guise, he’s a writer whose work conveys voluptuous but intelligent delight in language and technique.’
Carol Rumens, The Guardian

‘The experience of Ahren Warner’s new book is part invitation and part secrecy. As I read it I felt I had wandered from a party and stumbled into something vulnerable, something human and real beyond the clinking of glasses and fake laughter. That I had gotten the chance to hide in a closet and listen to a conversation I needed to hear but couldn’t quite access on my own. There is a conversation between the text and the film, a conversation between the speaker and the other, and most importantly – a conversation between Mr. Warner and himself. What a strange joy to be invited in.’ – Matthew Dickman

‘Theatrical, toxic and oddly gorgeous… Warner moves from playful social observation, through reflections on memory and artifice, to a near-Baudelairean spleen, his games with language and ideas as serious in their investigations of the given world as any philosophy.’ – John Burnside